• Adala Bolto

A personal trainer shares 5 exercises you SHOULDN'T be doing in the gym

Personal trainer, Adala Bolto shares 5 exercises women shouldn't be doing in the gym

One question that I get all the time from women is “Will I get bulky if I lift weights?”.

The answer is that it is unlikely. Why? Because getting bulky takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so in short unless your body has an exceptional amount of testosterone or you train very hard every day and consume a lot of protein shakes, it will be a hard thing for you to achieve.




Having said that, some women may feel out of proportion certain areas of their body if they do exercises that are not suitable for their goals and body type, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are getting bulky, more that they have different objectives, so while women can do anything they like, here are the exercises I would limit, and what I would replace them with.

Exercises that enlarge shoulders and traps (below the neck)


Most ladies, do not want to feel bulky around their shoulders and traps, especially if that is the area where they hold their stress. I would replace the behind the neck shoulder press with the seated shoulder press. With the seated shoulder press, you would sit with a weight in your hands and push the weight straight up, but in front of your face not behind it. It is a lot safer than the behind the neck version, there will be less chance of pulling a muscle and you will be working the muscle more evenly.

Isolated leg exercises


There are some isolated leg exercises that can make your legs bigger by building more muscle that is not in proportion with the rest of your body, for example leg extensions on exercise machine. Instead just do lunges. It works the entire body which helps you say in proportion, they can get the heart rate up and they are the best for lean legs

Exercises that enlarge side abs


For example, replace crunches with heavy weights with straight crunches. It's a great exercise either way, but you don't need to add to it.


Swap sit ups for planks

Sit ups are great if you want abs and they are fine for anyone to do, however planks are better for leaning out your stomach and working the whole torso

Replace single leg squats with donkey kicks


Single leg squats, which are often done while holding onto a TRX for balance and adding load may end up loading up your quads more when performed with great form and due to its difficultly with regards to balance, it may be hard to work the right in the back of you your legs and glute muscles too. You are better off doing donkey kicks to achieve a pert butt. It is likely to get you better results.






With the workouts we programme at ZADI, we apply the FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time and type) and safe balanced movement patterns in every session.



These are the bedrock of our workout methodology, in addition we program the finer layers such as reps, sets, load and and rest with female bodies and common fitness goals in mind.





Adala Bolto is the founder of female fitness franchise ZADI Training.

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